• Somsak Boonkam, founder and CEO of Local Alike, far left, poses with other startups during an award ceremony of Booking.com’s Booster held in Amsterdam on Thursday.
  • Somsak Boonkam, founder and CEO of Local Alike, second from left, receives an award of Booking.com’s Booster from Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, second from right, on Thursday in Amsterdam.

Local Alike online travel |platform wins Bt11.4m grant from Booking.com

Tourism June 25, 2017 12:21

By THE NATION

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LOCAL ALIKE, a Thai online travel platform that provides travel experiences around Southeast Asia, has won a grant of Bt11.4 million from Booking.com's Booster Programme for start-ups in sustainable tourism.



Launched this year, leading online accommodation provider Booking.com's first accelerator programme chose 10 teams of finalists from nearly 700 start-ups from 102 nationalities to attend workshops and intensive coaching and pitch their scaling plans to a live audience and panel of expert judges in its headquarters in Amsterdam for three weeks in June.

"We've learned so much from this experience and are inspired to take our vision for sustainable practices that empower and enrich local communities through more authentic tourism experiences to more destinations and people around the world," Somsak Boonkam, founder and chief executive of Local Alike, said on Friday.

Local Alike, the only Thai start-up in the programme, says it yearns to inspire every traveller to be a change-maker by working hand-in-hand with local people to build their capacity and to curate a genuine and meaningful experience for travellers and locals alike. 

It has also set up a tourism fund to help improve the quality of life for each community they work with.

Backstreet Academy was awarded the top grant of Bt15.2 million for its proposed scaling plans. The Singapore-based start-up wanted to bring its peer-to-peer travel platform to more communities throughout Southeast Asia and around the world, empowering them with tools to connect directly to the tourism industry, become micro-entrepreneurs and ultimately move themselves out of poverty.

"The ambitious creativity and innovative ideas we've seen from all of the start-ups who joined our Booking.com Booster this year were truly inspiring," said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. 

"I was particularly impressed with the entrepreneurial vision they all demonstrated in approaching a wide array of different challenges related to sustainable tourism. I'm really looking forward to seeing their plans unfold as these amazing companies continue to bring their vision for a more sustainable future for the global tourism industry to even more destinations worldwide."